This review covers and analyzes various well-rounded basketball shoes that especially excel when it comes to cushion and foot support.
In my 20+ years of playing basketball, I’ve used plenty of different shoes. I took that knowledge and compiled it with a large amount of research to properly review all of the footwear in this guide.
The Adidas Marquee is my pick for the best cushioned basketball shoe because of how well it mixes high performance with extreme comfort.
They top the list because they have a lot of durability and support but still manage to pack in plenty of cushion. The comfort is then furthered by their lightweight, breathable construction. They also look great and come in many colors, enabling you to mix-and-match to your style.
If you want to take a deeper dive into the Marquee, or if you want to explore similar cushioned shoes, I analyze a range of premium footwear in the sections below.
- Best Overall: Adidas Marquee
- Best Support: Air Versatile Li
- Best Indoor: Nike PG 5
- Most Breathable: Crazy Explosive Primeknit
- Best Grip: HOVR Havoc 3
Who Should Get This?
Though every player at every level can do well with a comfortable, highly-cushioned shoe, larger people or bigs need them more than smaller guards. That’s because bigger bodies put more stress on the joints and make them more injury prone. Good cushion fights that.
In addition, those who are particularly susceptible to both ankle and knee issues could always do with extra padding. Proper cushion is never going to act as foolproof injury prevention, but it can definitely help minimize the wear and tear that comes with each game.
Best Cushioned Basketball Shoes
In this section, I’ll review the top cushioned basketball shoes by studying their individual aspects, each of their unique traits, as well as what they do best.
- Best for: Overall
- Key Features: Lightweight, breathable design. Midsole cushioning and PrimeKnit construction. Many color options. Heel support. Full impact protection.
- Sole: Rubber
- Fit: Regular
- Weight: 15.4 ounces
Tough, lightweight, and breathable, the Marquee from Adidas is a great shoe that goes far beyond its ample cushion. While it is undoubtedly a soft, comfortable shoe that helps protect your foot on the court, it also comes with plenty of premium traits as well.
That includes the strong traction that actively sticks to any surface, the excellent heel support, as well as the unique subdued style. All of those allow you to play ball to the very best of your abilities. You’ll never be held back or face any discomfort when wearing these for a full game.
As great as they are, the Marquee shoes do lose a little bit of their premium traction when on slicker surfaces. These aren’t the best shoes for dusty or dirty courts. However, if you’re indoors or in a clean area they excel.
- Best for: Support
- Key Features: Air-sole heel pocket. Excellent impact protection. Rubber outsole with herringbone pattern. Fly wire cables and internal lacing system.
- Sole: Synthetic
- Weight: 15 ounces
- Fit: True to Size
Outfitted with fly wire cables and an internal lacing system, the Air Versatile Li is a well-rounded shoe that’s extremely comfortable and supportive. This shoe completely locks in your foot to ensure it doesn’t move around or shift. That’s particularly important for players who cut a lot.
While the two-tiered support goes a long way, this shoe also makes the list due to the modified herringbone pattern and air-sole pocket. The tread creates a strong grip that sticks to all courts, while the pocket helps with impact resistance and helps with hard landings.
The drawback to this shoe is that, as great as the tread is, you lose some traction when you’re not inside on a court. The pair does well outside, but they aren’t going to be as sticky. The padding also doesn’t have as much long-lasting durability as other popular models.
3. Nike PG 5
- Best for: Indoor
- Key Features: Mesh upper. Flexible construction. Strong outsole and Zoom Air Strobel. Multi-directional traction and lace bands for extra support.
- Upper: Mesh
- Sole: Rubber
- Weight: 15 ounces
If you’re someone who spends most of their time playing inside a gym and needs something that’s reliable on hardwood, the PG 5 is a great pick. These shoes have ample cushioning throughout every part of the design, creating a soft sneaker that feels great to run in.
In addition to the Zoom Air cushioning, they come with multi-directional traction on the outsole for superior traction. That complements all play styles and allows you to play to the best of your abilities. The mesh construction is soft and the extra support from the bands is a nice bonus.
The biggest knock against these well-rounded shoes is that they are definitely not the most durable around. While you’ll be able to get quite a bit of use out of them, these aren’t going to stick around as long as other shoes. Some people may also find the look a bit boxy.
- Best for: Ventilation
- Key Features: Boost cushioning system. Lightweight neoprene upper. Highly breathable. Power traction pattern. 4-direction ankle collar.
- Sole: Rubber
- Construction: Textile
- Weight: 13.4 ounces
The Crazy Explosive is a complete basketball shoe that makes my list as a result of the special boost cushioning system. That attribute doesn’t just feel good, it also allows you to run or jump without coming down too hard on your foot. It’s a great blend of comfort and protection.
Where many highly-cushioned shoes tend to be stuffy or overbearing, the PrimeKnits offer exceptional ventilation. The lightweight neoprene upper is breathable no matter how hard you work. They offer ample ankle support and look great as well.
That being said, they aren’t perfect shoes. The eyelets could definitely be better. In addition, as comfortable and padded as they are, the shoes don’t offer the best support. You’ll feel locked in and secure, but the lockdown isn’t up to the same level as you’ll see in other padded shoes.
5. HOVR Havoc 3
- Best for: Traction
- Key Features: Flexible synthetic build. Molded textile upper. Webbed lacing system. Mesh tongue increases airflow. UA HOVR technology. Excellent energy return.
- Fit: Narrow
- Sole: Rubber
- Weight: 1.72 pounds
The HOVR Havoc 3 is an extremely comfortable shoe that goes a long way to ensure you stay comfortable. It comes with a die-cut EVA sock liner, as well as a half-bootie lining and a webbed lacing system. All three of those enhance the fit while generating extra support.
Beyond the cushion, these shoes come with exceptional grip created by the herringbone traction pattern on the rubber outsole. If you’re looking for a tacky model for better control, this is it. The HOVR foam is responsive and the midfoot TPU shake gives plenty of additional stability.
Just know that these shoes come with a tighter fit than you may be used to. They aren’t uncomfortable by any means, but those with wider feet may want to get a size up. It’s worth the effort, but they will take some extra time to fully break-in.
Best Cushioned Basketball Shoes: What to Look For
This section breaks down several important traits to consider when getting any high-end basketball shoe.
Comfort is an extremely important part of any basketball shoe, and a big part of comfort is fit. No matter how much cushion a model has, it won’t work properly if it doesn’t sit on your foot or rubs in a way that causes an extreme amount of discomfort.
Understand what size you are, as well as if your foot is narrow or wide. Such measurements will allow you to pick the right fit no matter what type of cushioned shoe you go with. Always check out how a certain shoe fits, as that will allow you to know if you need a larger or smaller size.
Protection and Support
Cushion is a great form of protection, ensuring your feet stay safe when you run or jump hard. However, most modern shoes have plenty of other forms of support that cut down on injury or pain. Look for ones with a strong heel or forefront protection in addition to their padding.
It’s also important to find shoes that lock in your foot. Restricting slippage and ensuring your heel stays put as you move cuts down on the friction that causes blisters and prevents more serious injuries like twisted ankles or knees. The more secure fit, the better off you are.
Traction and Grip
Though it’s easy to overlook when picking out a cushioned shoe, grip is vitally important. As with support, all the cushion in the world won’t matter if your shoes can’t properly grip the court. Good traction enhances your game, prevents injuries, and keeps you moving quickly.
Look for special patterns made to provide better grip, unique rubber, as well as interesting soles. All three of those will enable you to play to the best of your abilities. Such upgrades are especially important for those who ball on different surfaces.
When picking out a cushioned shoe, it’s important to understand which one you want. However, if you have more questions some of the most popular ones are covered in this section.
What is Cushion in Basketball Shoes?
Most basketball shoes utilize special foam, often called a range of different names, throughout the sole. That gives them extra padding and helps support your foot as you play.
Will Cushioned Basketball Shoes Make You Jump Higher?
Though they won’t give you half a foot, shoes with a good amount of cushion can give you a bit more spring. The extra support and solid base help you jump, typically enabling you to get up an inch or so that you would with flatter footwear.
How Can I Make My Basketball Shoes More Comfortable?
There are two ways. First, you can wear two layers of socks when first using them to help break them in. In addition, you can also purchase second-hand soles or padding in order to bring another layer to your footwear.
Useful Tips and Resources
When purchasing basketball shoes, cushioned or not, it always helps to understand the different options on the market. This article covers sneaker types and allows you to make an informed decision on which ones might be best for your personal needs.
Beyond that, it also helps to understand the different cushioning options out on the market. This guide breaks down each one and will help you make a much more informed purchase when going out and getting your next shoe.
I believe that no cushioned shoe has more impressive traits than the Adidas Men’s Marquee. The shoe manages to be incredibly lightweight without giving away any durability and comes with a breathable design that actively cuts down on and reduces sweat.
You’ll never overheat with the shoes, nor will you experience any discomfort. They offer plenty of cushion that’s soft on your feet. The impact protection is top-notch as well. If you need attractive sneakers for all types of basketball, the Marquee will deliver on many different levels.